Twenty-five entries were received last year, about 60 entries in 2001, and 40 entries in 2000.
Terry Headlee, executive editor at The Herald-Mail, attributes this year's strong response primarily to a prize money increase from $100 to $500. The first-ever practice of publishing contest clues in the newspaper throughout the week - from Sunday, July 27, through Friday, Aug. 1, instead of just on Sunday - also likely spread interest in the competition, Headlee says.
Tritapoe, who enjoys the challenge of scouring the streets to identify the landmarks clues, recognized three clues - the golden eagle, mosaic tile elk and lamppost at City Hall - right off the bat, he says. He continued searching after work in the evenings and on his day off until he found his last landmark on Aug. 1, Tritapoe says.
Hagerstown police stopped him for violating the city's cruising restrictions while he was looking for landmarks one night, he says.
Landmark No. 9 - a piece of ironwork on a gate across from the Verizon building on West Antietam Street - stumped a number of people who entered the contest. And it gave the contest winner a run for his money, too.
Tritapoe spent 13 hours looking for that landmark, he says.
"I took that picture and stared at it and stared at it. I knew I'd seen it somewhere. I prayed to God and asked God to show me where it was," Tritapoe says. When he awoke one morning, he remembered landing in front of the gate after slipping on some moss while jogging along South Prospect Street as a teenager, he says.
"Then I went right to it," Tritapoe says.
He returned a favor to a neighbor who told him where to find Landmark No. 10 - a portion of the Washington Spy restaurant's sign - by giving the neighbor a hint as to where to find Landmark No. 9, Tritapoe says. He walked past Landmark No. 8 - a cross on a Holiday Motel window - four or five times before he found it.
"It took me about four hours," he says. "If you're not walking at the right angle, you don't see it."
Tritapoe plans to use his prize money for an upcoming visit with his 9-year-old son. The $500 will fund a trip to an amusement park, some toys and new school clothes, he says.
Landmarks contest answers
1. Fraternal Order of Eagles building on North Locust Street
2. Rear of Union Rescue Mission building on North Prospect Street
3. Antietam Professional Center at 138 E. Antietam St.
4. Former YMCA building on North Potomac Street
5. Entries to 142 and 144 N. Potomac St.
6. The Franklin Street side of City Hall
7. Fraternal Order of Eagles building on North Locust Street
8. Holiday Motel at the corner of West Washington and North Prospect streets
9. Gate across from Verizon on West Antietam Street
10. Washington Spy restaurant at 33 E. Antietam St.